Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Book Talk and Signing at Kinokuniya, Takashimaya (24 Sep 2016)

I was very happy to return to Kinokuniya again after 2 years at its new location! I reached there early to display my prize giveaway: Matcha cat cushion and sticker sheets. Some of my friends reached there early so I asked them to help me take some photos and do FB Live video broadcast later.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Comics: Haircut

Seriously it's really difficult to maintain a neat hairdo with natural curls. It always look nice after a haircut but it will totally mess up the next day...

Monday, September 19, 2016

Comics: Seven Wonders of Japanese

1. Spend 2 hours on Natural Makeup.
The end result usually looks effortless, from makeup to neat curls on the hair... I wonder what time they have to wake up to do all that before going to work or shop...

2. Not appear sweaty in suits during summer.
Maybe that's why they are likely to get heat stroke during summer because they sweat less? You never hear people from South East Asia fainting or dying from heat in Japan.

3. Drink lots of beer but not look fat.
Maybe because they need to climb a lot of stairs at the train station? Or it could be the small servings or less oil in cooking? Hmm...

4. Look like 30s in their 40s.
Must be something in the skincare and UV protection suit gear.

5. Means "No" even when they said "Yes".
Based on true story from an air stewardess fan who tried to get a Japanese girl's phone number. In the end she did not answer his calls or said she's busy all the time.

6. Always in orderly manner.
Even during disaster, they always queue up to get their rations.

7. Provide good service without charging for it.
Unlike many countries who charge for service and doesn't provide any...

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Should you self-publish or sign on with a publisher

(Left: My first book that I self-published, right: my second book with a publisher)

Many budding authors feedback to me that they found my article: "9 Important Lessons learnt on self-publishing in Singapore" very useful, so I am writing another one for authors who are wondering if they should self-publish or sign a contract with a publisher. After experiencing both sides, I would like to put together the pro and con of each side and share with you what I went through so you can decide for yourself which path to take.

Self Publishing
Pro:

  • You can control everything from the content to the pricing of your book.
  • Higher profit margin if your book cost is low.
  • Retain full copyright to sell to other publishers in various countries, including selling on Amazon.com and publish in any eBook format.

Con:

  • You bear the cost of all production, including reprints.
  • You have to store the rest of the books that your distributor did not take and try your blardy best to clear them.
  • Distributor may under-estimate your sales and it is up to you to check stock at each bookstore chain and pester them relentlessly for payment. Yes, that includes countless emails, messages and phone calls over several months before they give in and have your money back (usually more than a year had passed).
  • Unless you are a celebrity or have a proven track record of darn good sales, your book will most likely be placed somewhere at the bottom of a god-knows-where shelf.


Signing with a Publisher
Pro:

  • You do not have to pay for anything to get your book published.
  • You do not have to store any books, unless you buy back at a discounted rate from publisher to sell on your own.
  • You may receive an advance royalty so you can stop starving...
  • Someone will chase the distributor for payment so you can stop hunting them down on your own.
  • A better image because publishers do not take in any work. Your work has to be good enough for them to invest in the time and money.
  • Your book may have a better shelf placement if your publisher has a good relationship with the bookstore. There are cases where books just flew off the shelf because they were placed in prime locations (such as cover facing up at eye-level, or at the "Top Recommendation" shelves).
  • Somebody to blame if there is a spelling or grammar mistake...

Con:

  • Depending on your publisher, you may have very little say over what to include or exclude in your book. 
  • Surrender of partial/full rights (depending on contract and negotiation). Most publishers will demand worldwide or exclusive rights to your book whenever they can. Sometimes exclusive contracts work well as the publisher and bookstore do their best to sell your books by placing them at prime locations, which means a higher chance of selling out. However sometimes it may backfire if there is a foreign publisher interested to translate your work but you already signed off all the rights to your original publisher. 
  • Low returns per book sold. Royalty rate can be anywhere between 6-10%. This means if your book is priced at $15, you only earn $1.50 when a book is sold. So if you sold 2,000 copies, you only get back $3,000 for that several months of hard work. Payout of royalties only happen once a year so remember to get an Advance before you turn into a skeleton.

Conclusion
We usually choose self-publish if no publishers are interested, or we want to retain full rights and control over our creative work. Some publishers are well connected and may get you to appear at certain fairs or festivals. But if you are equally well-connected, this will not matter much.

The main advantage of going into an exclusive contract with a publisher is that they and the bookstores will work together to place your books in extremely good shelf locations. I have seen many authors with lesser FB Likes than mine but sold more than 10,000 copies (yes, much more than mine), just because their books are placed at eye-catching places.

However, if you are expecting future growth to global audience, this contract will backfire because you won't be able to sign contracts with foreign publishers yourself and publish eBooks in Kindle or iBook format. You will also be unable to sell your own books during conventions. Therefore you might want to negotiate with your publisher to sign into a non-exclusive contract whereby they have exclusive rights to certain countries/region and you have the freedom to sell to the rest of the world or in other eBook format. Of course, if you don't intend to sell your own goods (together with your book), or if you don't mind giving up your creative freedom and don't want to deal with any book sales, then going exclusive may be right for you.

I hope my article had been useful to any aspiring and budding authors/artists out there. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below and I will usually reply within a day or two. Good luck! :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Eva Goes Solo book signing trip to KL 10-11 Sep 2016

Day One: 
Cooler Lumpur Festival
I was honoured to be invited to this independent literature festival for a panel discussion with famous Malaysian comic artist and doodler Chee Ming Boey. I also got to meet my publisher and editor for the first time!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Comics: Travel Woes

I'm one of those who cannot sleep well on another bed so it's quite a torture at night when I'm on a holiday or work trip... But I never have any problems with passing motion every morning unlike whoever was sharing room with me... XD

How about you, do you have any difficulties that only happen when you travel?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Designing the book cover

After a few rounds of brainstorming for the title, my publisher narrowed down to this one: "EVA GOES SOLO". No, not the Solo in Indonesia but solo as in alone because this book contains short stories about me adapting to life in Japan a few years ago when the pets were not born yet. They liked idea no.4.

So the next step was to ink and colour it. So here were some ideas on how to treat the plain white background.

Ali from my Patreon (now it's like my mini fan club) suggested to have a table and my publisher liked the idea initially...

Yes, I meant "initially" because after speaking to retailers, they changed their mind and wanted a white background so the cover can pop up from the shelves.

It looked rather plain to me like a novel instead of a comic book, so I suggested 2 different treatments: drawings in the background or spot UV the bamboos. Spot UV is a special treatment whereby the surface is coated with a glossy finish. I preferred spot UV on my drawings but I didn't want to redraw everything as the treatment required certain line thickness in order to have the UV coated properly.

Turned out that the printer can auto-adjust to print just the thicker lines and the result was pretty ok. Except that it had to be kept off the edges and folds so I had to go back to adjust the drawings and thicken some lines.

After nearly 2 weeks of ding-dong to and fro adjustments, and another 1 week of printing, we finally saw the end product! Well sort of... because I haven't got the chance to see it personally yet so I'll be seeing it together with my fans in Malaysia for the first time at Kuala Lumpur this weekend (10-11 Sep)!

I'll be having a panel discussion with the famous Malaysian doodle and comic artist, Chee Ming Boey, to talk about the Art of Biography at the Cooler Lumpur Festival @ Publika (yeah, we love to draw and talk about ourselves :P ), followed by a brief talk and demo at MPH Mid Valley. On Sunday, I'll be heading to Koncent at Petaling Jaya, followed by Borders at The Curve.

I'd also be giving away 1 Matcha cushion at each location (except Cooler Lumpur) ! Will you be that lucky fan? See you!!!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Comics: SLR and photography skill


When I travel and want to ask someone to help me take a photo, I always target those who are holding a SLR camera because I believed they have very good photography skill. Unfortunately, that's not the case now because SLR cameras are getting more portable and lighter, so anybody with extra cash can buy without knowing how to frame the composition and adjust the settings...

My family seldom travel together especially with my Dad's weak legs now. Sadly, a photo of all of us at Disneyland 4 years ago was ruined because the guy couldn't aim properly... And yes, he was holding a SLR... (-_-)

Monday, August 29, 2016

Comics: Changing Rooms in Japan

I always dislike to try clothes during winter time because of the many layers of clothes you have to remove as well as the boots.

PS. I did not sit down to try the clothes...

Monday, August 22, 2016

Comics: Kids in Trains

I always think they are like monkeys, stepping on the seats, swinging around with the hangers, running around and making lots of noises... On the other hand, Japanese kids are very well-behaved and their parents would scold them if they disturb others.

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